Florida abandons international driving permit demand
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Tuesday 02 April 2013
British holidaymakers can now drive legally in Florida without obtaining an International Driving Permit (IDP).
The state Governor, Rick Scott, has signed a bill repealing a law that took effect at the start of this year. It demanded that all foreign motorists should carry the IDP, a document that virtually no other mainstream holiday destination requires.
The episode has been an embarrassment for Florida, which has far more reliance on overseas tourism than any other US state. The demand for IDPs was the unintended consequence of a bill aimed at ensuring that licences were in English. The fact that British - as well as Canadian, Irish and Australian - licences are already in English was apparently overlooked.
While the authorities said the rule would not be enforced, and most car-rental firms did not demand the international permit, any foreign motorist driving without an IDP was technically breaking the law - with possible consequences in the event of an accident or insurance claim.
Kevin McGurgan, UK Consul-General in Florida, welcomed the reversal: “If implemented, this legislation would have unnecessarily affected many of the 1.5 million UK nationals who visit Florida annually.”
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